- to utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does.
- (of things) to make a sound suggestive of the purring of a cat: The new motor of the car purred.
- to express by or as if by purring.
- the low, vibrating sound made by a cat by the contracting of the laryngeal muscles and the diaphragm as it breathes.
- a sound resembling this.
- the act of purring.
Origin of purr
First recorded in 1595–1605; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for purr
If there was an Oscar for performances by felines, Inside Llewyn Davis should rightfully have claimed that too, with a purr.Why No Oscar Love For 'Inside Llewyn Davis'?
January 20, 2014
“We always have fun,” she confided in her lilting Slovenian purr.Obama Roasts Trump
May 1, 2011
Move cautiously and reassuringly and the bear will purr contentedly.Democrats, Forever Changed
March 15, 2010
"I mean to hear the trial," continued Mrs. Garth, with a purr of satisfaction.The Shadow of a Crime
Charles-Norton half closed his eyes; his soul began to purr.The Trimming of Goosie
And the Tom Cat said, “Can you curve your back, and purr and give out sparks?”
The newspapers pounced on them with joy, as cats pounce and purr on catnip.In a Little Town
They could hear the purr of the taxicab as it dashed up the street.Mary Rose of Mifflin
Frances R. Sterrett
- (intr) (esp of cats) to make a low vibrant sound, usually considered as expressing pleasure, etc
- (tr) to express (pleasure, etc) by this sound
- a purring sound
C17: of imitative origin; compare French ronronner to purr, German schnurren, Dutch snorren
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for purr
1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper